Boston Celtics’ first-year assistant coach Kara Lawson accepted her dream job and is now the head coach of Duke’s women basketball team.
When Lawson first joined the Celtics this season, she was given the choice to work with any player that she wanted. The player she ultimately chose out of the 15-man roster was none other than Smart.
Similar to Smart, Lawson was a standout player on the court. Her defensive energy and intensity never went unnoticed en route to her becoming a WNBA champion and All-Star during her heydays.
During their season together, Lawson and Smart developed a practice and pregame shooting routine that they would religiously run through during practices and even more so on game days.
Speaking from experience, if you were able to get into the TD Garden for a game this season, you definitely saw Lawson either rebounding or feeding Smart crisp passes to fulfill their shooting routine during pre-games this season.
Over the course of the season, Smart has set the Boston Celtics franchise record for the most 3-point shots made in a single game (11), which increases his rank to fifth all-time in team history (575). He is also having a career year averaging 13.5 points and 4.8 assists per game.
A very appreciative Smart had this to say about his coach and friend.
“This is why our bond has been strong, she had the option to work with anybody. When she told Brad the reason why, she just liked the way I play my whole game. So that really hit home for me and it meant a lot. I know I can speak for everybody on this team, we’re excited for her, we’re proud of her, and we love her.” – Marcus Smart, per John Karalis of Mass Live
During the games, you’d see Lawson sitting in the first row behind the Celtics bench giving coaching tips to the players rotating in and out of the game and even an occasional talk or two with coach Stevens, who couldn’t be more thrilled for his former assistant.
“We actually went on a walk – Kara, Tracy and I – a couple of months ago. And we were talking about what she’d be interested in the future, and being the head coach at Duke was one of the things that came up. So it’s really cool that she’s getting a chance to do that. She’ll be terrific.” – Brad Stevens, per John Karalis of Mass Live
Prior to even joining the Celtics, Lawson had some great things to say about coach Stevens and that he was a big factor in her coming to Boston in the first place.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be challenged, I wanted to go somewhere where I’d be allowed to coach, and I wanted to go to an organization that was going to be playing in big games to be able to get a sense of that last frontier of coaching, which is being able to do it in pressure situations in the regular season and the playoffs. When I talked to Brad in a number of different conversations, it felt from a personality standpoint that he was going to be a good fit for me as I start off doing this. I think it’s important when you start off as a rookie that you’re surrounded by a good group, a knowledgeable group, and a good leader, and Brad checked all those boxes for me.” – Kara Lawson, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe
On top of working with Smart, Lawson also had a big impact on this year’s rookie class, specifically Carsen Edwards with his shooting skills and some fun alumnus talks with Grant Williams, who like Lawson, also graduated from the University of Tennessee.
Lawson will leave the Boston Celtics after only one, very odd season. In doing so, she became the first female coach in the history of the Celtics.
As for the C’s, the entire team couldn’t be any happier and proud of their former coach and friend, Lawson.